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Allegiant departs from Worcester Airport

Airline scraps its 5-year deal with city after 9 months

WORCESTER -- The last commercial airline at Worcester Airport has left the building.

At 10:50 a.m. on Sunday, the final Allegiant Air flight took off to Orlando, leaving some customers miffed at the airline's exit from the market.

Because of Allegiant's decision, Carol Rawlston, of Lakeland, Fla., had to return home four days early from a trip to Worcester to visit relatives.

``I'm mad at them," Rawlston told the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester, referring to the airline. ``They made me cut my trip short."

Allegiant has been criticized by city officials after scrapping a five-year deal with the city after just nine months, despite 85 percent to 90 percent capacity.

Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air said fuel costs and competition for budget-conscious travelers were the reasons to end the service.

In a statement sent to the Telegram & Gazette, president and CEO of Allegiant Air, Maurice J. Gallagher Jr., defended his company's decision, saying ``the market has spoken."

``It does not support Allegiant Air service at Worcester at a level necessary to sustain profitability," Gallagher said. ``We sincerely believed Worcester would be a good market for Allegiant Air, but we were wrong."

US Airways Express was the last airline to pull out of Worcester, in February 2003. It cited slow ticket sales and the need to cut costs as part of bankruptcy reorganization.

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